Washington, DC – Pointing at the United States White House on Saturday, women and their supporters chanted “the oppressive state is a rapist. The rapist is you.”
The lyrics are part of a Chilean performance piece that has become an anthem of the feminist movement worldwide.
“Patriarchy is a judge, that judges us for being born, and our punishment is the violence you don’t see,” the group, led by members of Chile’s Las Tesis feminist collective, yelled in unison as protesters came to a halt along a route that nearly circled the White House.
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The performance offered a defiant, powerful tone to the fourth annual Women’s March, which saw thousands from across the country and world brave light snow and freezing rain to march in Washington, DC. Thousands of others rallied in cities and countries worldwide.
“I want everyone to know that women deserve rights too,” said Mariam Meite, who travelled from North Carolina for the Washington, DC, march.
“We’re not making this stuff up,” the 21-year-old told Al Jazeera. “We’re actually being assaulted every day. We’re not getting paid equally. We’re dying all the time. We deserve to be heard.”
Our sisters from Chile,@lastesisoficial, led us in the powerful and cathartic mantra, “El Violador En Tu Camino” outside the a White House. Naming the predator. Blaming the system. Salt the earth. Video by @vsancho #LasTesis #WomensMarch2020 pic.twitter.com/KneVFMu2Ka
— Sarah Sophie Flicker (@sarahsophief) January 18, 2020
Protesters held signs that included a variety of demands from climate action to reproductive rights.
“My particular concern is the planet, climate and how [President Donald] Trump and his cronies and his associates are doing everything wrong,” said Laura, who wished to only give her first name.
“They aren’t concerned, it seems, with the survival of the planet and the people,” the 67-year-old from Pennsylvania told Al Jazeera. “Hopefully we have not gone so far that our planet is doomed.”